Source of Article:† Food Irradiation Update (August 2008)
After hundreds of millions of dollars in tomato crops losses and more than 1,200 reported illnesses caused by the Salmonella Saintpaul bacteria, the causes of the contamination may not have been tomatoes after all.
Now, weeks later, following the discovery of one lone jalapeno contaminated with the virulent bacteria, the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings to the public not to eat raw jalapenos.
And so now, like the tomatoes before them, jalapenos have been pulled off grocery store shelves. The public is being told to throw out any raw jalapenos in their homes and to avoid eating them at restaurants. Restaurant owners are being told to discard the suspicious jalapenos.
What this food crisis has called to attention is the fact that fresh food products now travel around the globe and a more efficient screening process is desperately needed to ensure that produce and other products are not contaminated before they enter our food stream.
Itís difficult enough to find contaminated produce grown in the U.S. Add in all the foreign grown and produced food products and the issue becomes that much more complicated. Nonetheless, a method for decontaminating the product is needed.
Irradiation has been touted as a safe way to decontaminate fresh produce, but many people objected to the treatment as unsafe. But the serious illnesses and even deaths that result from the problem is worth exploring irradiation and other treatments further, to do less will only continue to endanger the public.
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